The joy of networking

By Joseph L. Bunce

We seem to be living in a time when many are confused about the value of state convention networks and partnership.

If you search Baptist history, you will discover that churches first joined to form local associations – the first in 1707.  In Southern Baptist circles, the next cooperating bodies to be formed were the state conventions. The Georgia Baptist State Convention was formed in 1822, the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 1837. When the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845, nine state conventions sent delegates to the first meeting.

The simple fact is, we need one another to fulfill God’s call in our lives.

I cannot speak for any state convention, but I can say the Baptist Convention of New Mexico offers an amazing range of resources and help for churches and pastors.

In the business world, we often hear the term “ROI” (return on investment). Allow me to share some of the ROI in our state convention in the area of revitalization.

The Baptist Convention of New Mexico has a team that, upon request, works with and walks beside the local church in revitalization. We have a network of pastors who are presently working diligently to lead their churches through the process of revitalization. The Scripture speaks of ‘iron sharpening iron.”  The concept is clear: We need each other and revitalization is best accomplished when we have other brothers to walk beside on the journey.

The Baptist Convention of New Mexico team serves in many ways. First, we assist pastors and churches in understanding what revitalization is and is not:

Revitalization is not:

  • a set of materials delivered in a box.
  • a new set of action plans or goals.
  • a change of the church’s structure.(Example: from deacons to elders)
  • going to happen quickly.
  • leading your church to become like some other church.
  • changing the name of the church.
  • preaching a certain set of messages.
  • an easy process.

Revitalization is:

  • a comprehensive change in values, vision, and vitality.
  • a recognition of loss and grief.
  • an empowerment and involvement of people in the church to do the ministries of the church.
  • a realignment of the church’s culture.
  • a realignment of the church’s system.
  • a transformation of the pastor.
  • a spiritual process of discovering and living out the values of God.

Second, we also provide individual coaching and mentorship to encourage and assist the pastor as he deals with the numerous obstacles experienced in leading a church through the revitalization process.

Every pastor will need assistance and wise counsel at some point in their ministry. The state convention is a great first place to seek that. In New Mexico, the state convention staff exists to equip, support, and resource the local church to fulfill its mission for the glory of God.,

Published April 25, 2019

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Joseph L. Bunce

Joseph L. Bunce is the Executive Director/Lead Missionary for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.